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The great battle had been fought. Dharma had been established. Around her were the corpses of her hundred sons: some with broken necks, some with smashed skulls, some with open chests, and one with a broken thigh. The wailing of her widowed daughters-in-law filled her ears. They mourned for her sons and her grandsons, all of whom were killed by the Pandavas army. Tears rushed out of her eyes, making her blindfold so wet that she feared that she would be able to see those dead faces through the cloth. Unable to bear the thought, she squeezed shut her eyes. The hundred pots from which these hundred were born occupied her courtyard in the palace. But these were bodies of grown men, princes, warriors, each one with a broad chest and long arms. They occupied an entire field. Their bodies still gleamed with their sweat, their armors, their jewels, their weapons. How magnificent they would have looked as they marched out of the city blowing a hundred conch-shells?
Gandhari howled at the truth of her insight. Then she screamed a curse, “May you Krishna witness the death of your children and your children’s children. And may you die alone in the forest, hunted down like a beast.”
Krishna came and hugged her. She wept. And she felt Draupadi weeping next to her. Both were being hugged by Krishna, the mother of villains and the mother of heroes, both being comforted by he who they say is God. He said nothing. He allowed Gandhari to vent out her venom and he accepted the curse quietly – no retaliatory curse. Yes, his children would die as Gandhari had deemed fit and so would he. Let his clan suffer so that the spiral of vendetta does not continue. It has to end sometime. And if this demands the sacrifice of his clan, then let it be so.
After the war was over Krishna was himself contemplating the end of the Yadavas race. They were very powerful under the protection of lord Krishna so no external force could defeat them. If the Yadavas themselves are left unchecked, at some point of time in future, they will become a burden to the Earth. So, lord Krishna realizes the importance of bringing the destruction of his own race. So, when Gandhari curses Lord Krishna and his race, He thanks her for having solved his problem.
Days flew by after the coronation of Yudhishtra as the king of Hasthinapur. Krishna went back to Dwaraka to rule over the beautiful island kingdom. Blessed by the presence of the Goddess of Wealth (Rukmini), the people enjoyed a luxurious life. Slowly the curse of Gandhari started taking form. The Yadavas were in eternal bliss in Dwaraka. So much bliss, that they forgot good conduct, morals and the importance of discipline and humility. Consequently, once when some learned men came to Dwaraka, the Yadavas sealed their destiny.
It so happened that once great sages like Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista, Narada among others were on a pilgrimage. After visiting various places, they visited Dwaraka to meet Lord Krishna and Balarama. The Yadavas, which included Bhodakas, Vrishnis, Kekeyas and Andakas, who were once virtuous devotees of Krishna, had lost their sense of culture and discipline and were little more than hooligans. A group of Yadavas boys who saw the great sages decided to play a prank on them in order to test their powers.
They dressed Samba, the son of Krishna and Jambavati, as a woman and tied many robes to his belly so he’d appear as a pregnant woman. They approached the sages and asked them to predict whether the ‘lady’ would give birth to a boy or a girl. The Rishis realized the truth through their divine vision and were enraged. In anger, the sages cursed them saying that the disguised boy will give birth to a lump of Iron which will destroy the entire Yadava race.
The Yadavas, shocked though they were, were too arrogant to even apologies. They left the scene, laughing off the curse as the speech of one who had lost all his sanity. Things were however very different the next morning. Sambha developed labour pains and soon delivered a mace from within him. The Yadavas were now struck with fear. They immediately rushed with the mace to Akroora and Ugrasena and in the presence of Krishna himself; they narrated the weird tide of events.
Akroora immediately ordered, “Grind the mace to a fine powder and cast it into the seas.” The Yadavas nodded and retreated. Akroora cast his gaze at Krishna, his eyes full of questions. Krishna simply smiled back. “The wheels of time are turning Uncle”, he said, “and Sambha has played his part perfectly.” He left without another word, leaving both of them bewildered. “What did he mean by that?” asked Ugrasena. “I can tell you that, father.” Ugrasena turned around to the source of voice – Rukmini.
Thirty six year ago, Krishna prayed to Shiva for a son like him. Does that ring any bell?” Rukmani asked. Ugrasena, said very slowly, his eyes bright, “A son like Shiva. A son like the god of destruction! Krishna wanted Sambha to aid in destruction…” And even more slowly, his voice down several levels, he uttered, “Gandhari’s curse. The time for her curse to act has arrived. A reward for her devotion in him”, he ended, leaving Akroora agape and Rukmini nodding in agreement.
Outside the palace, the Yadavas had obeyed Akroora’s command to the dot. They had ground the mace finely. Everything was ground except a sharp triangular piece which appeared to be very hard indeed. And then they had thrown the fine powder and the lone piece into the sea. Happy that they had taken care of the matter so easily, they returned back to their general state of intoxication and bliss
Time rolled by. The triangular piece of the mace was swallowed by a fish. The fish was caught by a hunter, who upon finding the piece in the fish’s entrails immediately used it to craft a fine poisonous arrow. The fine powder, on the other hand, washed back ashore and deposited itself by the beautiful coast of Dwaraka. A certain grass grew in lush abundance in the area where the powder was deposited. Everything was set for the final showdown.
The Yadavas soon forgot all about their curses. The consumption of alcohol was banned in the entire kingdom of Dwaraka. However, after 36 years of Mahabharata war, lots of omen used to appear in the Dwaraka city. The Sudarshana chakra, Panchajanya shankh, the chariot of lord Krishna and the plough weapon of Balarama disappeared from earth. One day, the Yadavas gathered on the beach. The liquor that they drank made them lose their senses completely.
They started teasing one another, bringing up the gory pasts and gruesome mistakes of each other. Satyaki and Krithaverma acted as the starting points of the doom of Dwaraka. Satyaki had fought on Pandava’s side in the battle of Kurukshetra and Krithaverma, on the Kauravas side. They taunted one another, bringing back memories of the horrific war. In a fit of rage, Satyaki, jumped on Krithaverma and cut his head off. The friends of Krithaverma pounced on Satyaki and a great brawl followed.
Pradyumna, the son of Krishna, innocent though he was, found himself in the thick of the fight and was killed. As they have come to the sea shore for a pleasure, they did not carry any weapons along with them. They saw the long grown grass in abundance along the sea shore. They picked up the grass stems and beat and killed each other. Those grass stems were nothing but blades made of the powder of the same lump of Iron born to Samba. Thus the curse of saints fructified.
Each blade of grass became a mace, smashing into the Yadavas, killing them instantly. It was a matter of moments before the Yadavas lay dead, killed by their own clan members and in front of their very King. Except Krishna, all Yadavas were killed. Krishna’s charioteer Daruka and another one called Babhru only survived. They both approached Sri Krishna and said: “O Krishna! All Yadavas were killed. Whereabouts of Balarama are not known. It is better to search for him.”
Krishna started thinking about the ways and means to leave this body. He remembered the words of Rishi Durvasa. Once, as per the wish of saint Durvasa, he applied Payasam (liquid food prepared with milk, sugar and rice) throughout his body. As his legs were resting on ground, he could not apply it to his feet. Durvasa observed it and said: “Krishna! You have not applied Payasam to my foot. Your death is in your foot.” said Saint Durvasa.
Krishna laid down under a tree and went into Yoga Samadhi. At that time a hunter Jara entered that forest. That hunter misunderstood the moving foot of Krishna as a lurking deer and shot a lethal arrow that pierced into Krishna’s feet. As soon as the hunter reached Krishna, he realized his mistake and pleaded the lord for forgiveness. Lord Krishna consoles him and tell him how his death was inevitable.
Krishna says that in his previous birth as Rama in the Tretayuga, Rama killed Vaali (Sugreeva’s brother) from behind. So, Krishna has now reaped the price for the same through Jara who was king Vaali in his previous birth. This story beautifully brings out the very important fact that, even for the Ruler of the Universe, the laws of Karma remain the same. Hence, lord Krishna left the mortal world. The time from which lord Krishna died is considered to be the beginning of Kaliyuga.
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